Photo included with company press release.
Photo included with company press release.

Akesso Professional Footwear of Salem is talking up the Helia, a shoe specifically designed for nurses and other health care professionals, which the company describes as “athletes in scrubs.”

Until now, nurses have been forced to make footwear compromises, even as they sometimes work 10- to 12-hour shifts, Akesso claims in a Thursday press release. Many nurses choose jogging sneakers. And for comfort, others choose clogs.

According to Akesso, its Helia shoe combines the best elements of sneakers and clogs with a bit of fashion-forward cachet thrown in.

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“There is a long list of health care providers who have been underserved by their shoes,” Akesso chief executive and founder Bruce Todtfeld said in a statement. “Nurses, doctors, aides, dental professionals, technicians --- they all work in a field plagued by musculoskeletal disorders, injury, and exposure. Imagine the pounding their feet take. Recognizing the physical stress of their jobs and seeing the inadequate footwear many choose, we knew we could build a more functional product to meet the needs of health care professionals.”

Among the features of Akesso shoes: contamination-resistant uppers and slip-resistant soles.

For now, Akesso is focused exclusively on women’s shoes. The Helia, which is described as a hybrid between a sneaker and a soft clog, has a suggested retail price of between $94 and $100.

Another option is the Carraria, a lace-up shoe that shares many of the Helia’s features. The Carraria has a suggested retail price of $85.

Todtfeld’s resume boasts a footwear pedigree worthy of St. Crispin, patron saint of cobblers. Todtfeld has worked for Timberland’s boot business and for the Sperry Top-Sider brand of boat shoes as well.